Pain research desperately needs more funding: only 2 percent of the National Institutes for Health budget currently goes toward investigating treatments for pain. Despite limited funding, researchers around the world are constantly working to find breakthroughs in pain management.
Never give up hope if you feel as if you’ve met a dead end with treatment; something else that works may be coming down the pipeline. That said, you do have to take an active role in finding new clinical breakthroughs to talk about with your doctor and clinical trials to enroll in.
Explore the latest research
You can use online databases to search by keyword for the latest studies about a particular condition or treatment option. The more specific your keywords, the more likely you are to find helpful information. Some scholarly articles require a subscription to access the information, but not all. Even if you can’t access a particular article, you can usually read the “abstract” or a summary of the study.
Pain-related research journals and news sites
Journal of Pain
Practical Pain Management
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Medical News Today – pain /anesthetics (free)
Pain Management Nursing
Science Daily – pain control news (free)
Enroll in a clinical trial
Researchers can’t make progress without real patients willing to enroll in clinical trials. Clinical trials are investigations of specific treatments or protocols for a particular health condition or symptom.
What to know about clinical trials:
- Enrollment requirements can be very specific, so read the information carefully.
- Patients are often compensated for their time and travel.
- Not all studies require travel; some can be done from the comfort of your home.
- There can be risks associated with any research protocol. These risks will be described in detail in the consent document, which you are asked to sign before taking part in research.
- Clinical trials are monitored by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are only conducted after determining a treatment is safe for humans.